The momentum for the fuel cell is constantly improving with increasing dynamics. Recent co-operations such as those between Bosch and PowerCell, but also positive statements on fuel cells from automobile manufacturers such as Audi are attracting attention. Will China be the driver again, as it was when the batteries were introduced and before that in the field of renewable energies? There, new funding guidelines are about to be introduced, which are intended to favour and strongly promote the fuel cell and the hydrogen infrastructure, while the subsidies for purely battery-operated vehicles will, depending on the radius, be abolished in full or to a large extent.
Since 2008, South Korea has aggressively pushed the development of the fuel cell markets for stationary and mobile use. The driving factor behind the government’s decision was the global economic crisis, which led to an equally painful economic downturn in Asia. In the country officially called the Republic of Korea, it awakened dark memories
If the number of order bookings is anything to go by, then Plug Power is not only doing very well, but the company will be able to easily achieve or even exceed its ambitious goals: New orders worth USD 72 million in the first quarter increased backlog to an impressive USD 278 million. The new booking target figure this year is USD 275 million. The revenue target is USD 150 million – after USD 100 million last year.
November 2015 saw the publication of the Fuel Cell Industry Review 2015, including market data and analyses for 2015. Since 2014, a team led by E4tech had contacted fuel cell companies around the globe, aggregated their supply figures and can now show the latest trends in the industry, much as Fuel Cell Today had done before its survey came to a halt. The following will present some excerpts from the review.
The presentation of the results of the H2IntraDrive project was not a sales event or press conference – it was both. On Nov. 23, 2015, the project partners as well as representatives of prospective new partners and some reporters gathered in the BMW factory in Leipzig to take a look at the results of two years of development. The important thing to take away from the event was:
Whichever enterprise figure is in the focus of the stock market, it will become the basis for share price development: With around US$ 31.5 million in the third quarter, Plug did deliver the expected turnover revenue, but had to continue posting a loss that the stock market took as a negative sign (expressed in US cents per share).
Ballard Power is placing a bigger focus on China, evidenced by the various agreements with Chinese companies from the field of bus manufacturing and the development of hydrogen-driven rail vehicles. According to company information, the Canadian fuel-cell manufacturer paid special attention to only collaborate with known, reputable partners, whether big or small, which enjoy their own location advantages.
Second quarter figures certainly fell short of expectations. All segments reported decreasing revenues. Still: The second half of 2015 should bring forth many positive developments in several areas, according to Ballard’s CEO, Randall MacEwen. FuelCell Energy would be “extremely busy.” This means: I assume that the takeover of Protonex will soon become reality, as over 50% of preliminary votes by Protonex’s shareholders were in favor of the deal.
The area of USV systems – along with the mobility sector and the supply of domestic energy – offers a wide range of possible applications to fuel cells. Since 2010, the Clean Power Net (CPN) sector network has been focusing on companies which work in the areas of the uninterrupted and off-grid supply of electricity, or Smart Grids. One of the most important projects in this field is the large-scale order to the value of 6.6 m. Euros for equipping more than 100 radio masts in Brandenburg, Germany, with fuel cell systems for the purpose of emergency power supply.
The HyPulsion joint venture has now been owned in full by Plug Power since August 2015. As announced by the American (USA) company on July 27th 2015, it has acquired all of the shares in its former partner Axane, a subsidiary of the gases company Air Liquide. The New York-based manufacturer of fuel cells paid US-$ 11.5 m. for 80 % of the shares. In 2012, Plug Power and Axane joined forces to form HyPulsion, primarily with the goal of kick-starting the market for fuel cell forklift trucks. Andy Marsh, managing director of Plug Power, made the following comments: “We are now moving ahead with optimism to extend our presence in the European materials handling market. […] I am pleased that our collaboration with Air Liquide for the further development of the hydrogen sector in Europe is continuing.”